In order for us to address child trafficking, we must think about the root causes. We have identified poverty, naivety, and family separation as the main three root causes.
Women Economic Empowerment Programme (WEEP)
Economically empowering caregivers, especially women, is vital in preventing child trafficking. The majority of people in Winneba are fisher- and farmer-folk and much of their work is affected by weather and seasons. As climate change contributes to the unpredictable nature of weather and harvests, fishing and farming don’t always provide a sustainable income.
Fishing in Winneba is seasonal, with large catches of fish happening only three months out of the year. During these months, there is no means to preserve caught fish. Fishermen are forced to throw away what they do not sell or sell at a very low cost, resulting in lost income. The CH Cold Store addresses many of these issues: women have a guaranteed supply of fish available locally and fisherfolk have a place to preserve large catches of fish.
We have erected a community smokehouse near the cold store with 58 smoke ovens open to women in the community. Small cooperatives of women are able to use the smokehouse, free of charge. Women come here to smoke fish to sell throughout the community and region.
Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP)
Part of our vision to end child trafficking is to provide youth with a solid foundation of career skills. This enables these young people to break the cycle of poverty that leads to trafficking.
Our Youth Empowerment Programme is a free training course for young members of the community, aged 15-25. As a part of the course, the participants learn a trade under the supervision of a master. Some of the trades include driving, phone repair, digital TV installation, and beauty therapy, among others. The youth also learn computer, business, and leadership skills allowing them to begin and advance their career.
Child Development Khazanas (CDKs)
Instilling financial literacy and life skills early can go a long way in addressing poverty. Using the CDK programme, from Butterflies India, we are establishing child savings clubs at schools throughout source communities. These clubs are more than just savings clubs and incorporate first aid training as well. These clubs establish young citizen leaders in their communities and foster a sense of civic responsibility.
Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs)
In order to build community resilence, we rely on community volunteers to be on the lookout for child trafficking. Community Child Protection Committees are comprised of local and religious leaders, students, and community members. We train the committees on child protection. This training covers topics ranging from child development to trauma and how to deliver non-violent discipline for behaviour management. Most neighbourhoods are relatively small and members are able to notice if they have not seen a child for a while. With their training, they are able to take action to locate the child and, if appropriate, report to the authorities.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
From our deep community involvement, we know that there are often disputes between families and couples. No matter the family dispute, we have a respected community member, deputised by the court, who can help resolve the issues at hand. This way, we are able to address the issues of family separation.